KARACHI: As the Covid-19 situation gets critical in the country with a steep rise in the number of affected patients, the provincial health department recently announced a series of steps to tackle the emerging challenge.
These steps included the establishment of five hospitals and high-dependency units with 800 beds.
To provide treatment to Covid-19 patients, the government plans to set up five more hospitals with the help of the Frontier Works Organisation.
“High dependency units with 800 beds would be available by the end of July while some 210 ventilators would be added into the system,” said Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, adding that a 140-bed high dependency unit would also be set up at the Expo Centre field hospital.
High dependency units among other facilities, she explained, had the provision of oxygen delivery systems.
She also talked about the challenges the government had faced in its fight against Covid-19 and said initially the procurement of ventilators had been difficult because of an embargo imposed internationally on their export.
“While we are continuously trying to facilitate patients, the first line of defence against the disease is a precaution. I strongly urge people to follow precautionary measures.”
Experts had warned the government in April not to relax the lockdown considering the fragility of the healthcare system. The relaxation of restrictions on May 1, followed by the lifting of the lockdown on May 22 has caused the rate of infections to increase multiple times across the country.
“The positivity rate is high, the surveillance system is weak, there is a limited capacity to provide for critical patients and the population is not ready to adapt to change in behaviour,” says a letter penned by WHO country head for Pakistan, Dr Palitha Mahipala.
The letter states that the coronavirus has spread to almost all districts in the country, with major cities making up a majority of national cases.
The critical situation in the case of Karachi, sources said that all major hospitals in the city were running out of capacity and no longer admitting critical patients who were suffering from any disease.
The city has been reporting over 1,000 new Covid-19 cases daily with a significant rise in mortalities since May 30.